Bush v. Vera, 517 U.S. 952, 85 (1996)

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Cite as: 517 U. S. 952 (1996)

Opinion of O'Connor, J.

crease, largely in urban minority populations, that entitled Texas to three additional congressional seats. In response, and with a view to complying with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA), 79 Stat. 437, as amended, 42 U. S. C. 1973 et seq., the Texas Legislature promulgated a redistricting plan that, among other things, created District 30, a new majority-African-American district in Dallas County; created District 29, a new majority-Hispanic district in and around Houston in Harris County; and reconfigured District 18, which is adjacent to District 29, to make it a majority-African-American district. The Department of Justice pre-cleared that plan under VRA 5 in 1991, and it was used in the 1992 congressional elections.

The plaintiffs, six Texas voters, challenged the plan, alleging that 24 of Texas' 30 congressional districts constitute racial gerrymanders in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. The three-judge United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas held Districts 18, 29, and 30 unconstitutional. Vera v. Richards, 861 F. Supp. 1304 (1994). The Governor of Texas, private intervenors, and the United States (as intervenor) now appeal. We noted probable jurisdiction. 515 U. S. 1172 (1995). Finding that, under this Court's decisions in Shaw I and Miller, the district lines at issue are subject to strict scrutiny, and that they are not narrowly tailored to serve a compelling state interest, we affirm.


As a preliminary matter, the State and private appellants contest the plaintiffs' standing to challenge these districts. Plaintiff Chen resides in Texas congressional District 25, and has not alleged any specific facts showing that he personally has been subjected to any racial classification. Under our decision in Hays, he lacks standing. See Hays, supra, at 744-745. But plaintiffs Blum and Powers are residents of District 18, plaintiffs Thomas and Vera are residents of District 29, and plaintiff Orcutt is a resident of District 30. We


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